2016 may offer other important lessons for those who don’t want Sanders in the White House, especially those running against him. That year, while Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the crowded GOP field spent time cutting each other off at the knees, Donald Trump marched to victory, facing little blowback for his incoherent proposals and his unconscionable personality. The Republican candidates that year dangerously miscalculated their strategy, wrongly assuming Trump would eventually flame out and they could capture his followers if they hadn’t gone after him. All of them counted on winning a one-on-one race against Trump. That plan is what helped give us President Trump.
That’s not an exact parallel to the circumstances nor the calculations of the 2020 Democratic race, of course. And whatever you think about his politics, Bernie Sanders is no Donald Trump — far from it. Additionally, most of the Democratic contenders are probably more comfortable with Sanders’ policies, even if they don’t embrace his socialist identity, than the other Republican candidates were with Trump’s mishmash political philosophy during the 2016 race.